SECOND ROUND LEADERBOARD: -12 R Fisher (Eng) -9 F Molinari (Ita) -7 A Hansen (Den), S Noh (Kor), P Harrington (Ire), B Rumford (NZ), G Fernandez-Castano (Spn), M Hoey (NI), D Dixon (Eng), R Green (Aus), R McIlroy (NI) Selected others: -6 C Wood (Eng), P McGinley (Ire), D Clarke (NI) -4 S Khan (Eng) -3 D Howell level G McDowell (NI), J Rose (Eng) Missed the cut: +2 P Price (Wal), S Dyson (Eng), R Davies (Wal) +6R McGowan (Eng) +8 N Dougherty (Eng), O Fisher (Eng)
Fisher recorded his best-ever round
England's Ross Fisher missed out on carding the European Tour's first 59 by two shots during the second round of the Irish Open in Killarney.
Fisher, who needed to pick up two shots over the last four holes, went round in 61 to lead on 12 under, three ahead of Italy's Francesco Molinari.
"It didn't happen, but I'll take 61," said 29-year-old Fisher.
Fisher could leap from 13th on the Ryder Cup points table to sixth with victory on Sunday.
"It's been a frustrating year," he added.
"The Ryder Cup was one of the goals I set myself and I want to be on that team. I want Europe captain Colin Montgomerie to be looking at me and if I still need a pick at the end then hopefully I will be one of the fortunate ones."
The World Match Play champion made six successive birdies in a front nine 29 and then four more in a row from the 11th.
But he missed from six feet at the 15th, could only par the 519-yard next and closed with two more pars.
Meanwhile, overnight leader David Howell suffered a nightmare round.
The Englishman began on seven under but slipped back to three under after going round the County Kerry course in 75.
"I played rubbish - as bad as I was good yesterday," Howell stated.
"I got off to the worst start and just swung the club poorly. I just didn't know where it was going to go and it was a case of hanging on, which I did.
"It could have been worse, to be honest, and I've got two nice days now to crack on and finish high up."
Molinari made six birdies on his way to a 66, and but for dropped shots at 11 and 13 could have been within a shot of Fisher.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington fired a 67 to occupy his place among a group of eight other players, that included Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (68) and Michael Hoey (69) and England's David Dixon (68), on seven under.
Darren Clarke (70) and Paul McGinley (68) were both a further shot back.
England's Justin Rose improved an impressive six shots on his first-round 74 to lie level par for the tournament, making the cut by a single stroke.
Englishmen David Horsey, Simon Dyson and Nick Dougherty, and Wales's Rhys Davies, Phillip Price and Bradley Dredge also missed out on a place in the final two rounds.